Fall fishing in Florida – We have been taking full advantage of the spells of nice weather we have had between cold fronts. It is shaping up to be a very average winter as far as temperatures in the Gulf go, but the fishing has been nothing short of fantastic. The cycle of cold fronts followed by building high pressure means the fish will be moving a lot during the fronts and looking to take refuge and feed vigorously while the seas and winds subside. ‘chasing the fronts’ in and out means that we like to fish just before and just after these short spells of windy weather. Not only is the weather generally very pleasant, but we cash in on the feeding frenzy that is sure to ensue.
The past couple weeks have been mixed bag fishing at its finest. Everything from Amberjack and Blacktip sharks for sport, to monster mangoes (mangrove snapper, some of the finest eating and most sly customers in the gulf) and red grouper for the dinner table and freezer. Fishing anywhere from six to fifty miles offshore has been productive, with the longer trips reserved for those looking for some true monsters! Offerings closer to shore have also seen a lot of action on Gag grouper, which are closed to recreational harvest for a few months. There is one advantage to gags being out of season and that is that when you aren’t looking to take home the big dogs we stick to very light tackle pursuing snapper instead. When you do come tight with a gag grouper, you would be amazed at the sport quality they will offer!
The rush of Thanksgiving week is over, so waters are once again quiet. The time between the holidays is some of the most peaceful of the year in Southwest Florida. Often our days at sea will run their course without even spotting another boat once we pass through the inlet. Take advantage while you can, things are sure to get a little more busy as winter travel season gets into full swing next month!
We have been spending our “days off” harvesting the freshest seafood in Charlotte County. Lately we have been spending time commercial spearfishing for Black Grouper, Hogfish, and the occasional Snapper, Cobia, or Flounder. You can usually find us in front of Cape Haze Marina on Saturday if there is anything left! The best thing to do is let us know what you are interested in and we will set it aside when we offload. Generally we unload fish on Thursday or Friday night. Hogfish and Black Grouper are always the first to go!
Harvesting fish by spear is one of the oldest methods of fishing, and predates hook and line fishing by thousands of years. It also still remains the number one most environmentally friendly method of harvest due to its selective nature. Only those fish that you intend to harvest are taken, there is absolutely zero bycatch! It also is the only viable method for harvesting Hogfish, one of the most sought after of all Florida food fish. One of the great side effects is getting to actually the fish in their natural habitat on the structures that we routinely fish. This information proves invaluable during our charter fishing excursions. There is no substitute for being on…or under the water every day to keep track of where the big ones are hiding!